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Poster: Scott Saunders Date: Aug 26, 2009 1:01pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Movie Serial PD Check

I have these serials ready for derivation:

Dick Tracy's G-Men -
Dick Tracy Returns -
Dick Tracy vs. Crime Inc. -
Captain America -

If there is anyone here who can do a PD check for me, and they clear, I'll be more than happy to upload these to the archive.


This post was modified by Scott Saunders on 2009-08-26 20:01:21

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Aug 26, 2009 12:45pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

All of your links point to "Dick Tracy's G-men".
You don't have to use the "a" html tag; just paste the link.

Like this:

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Poster: Scott Saunders Date: Aug 26, 2009 1:02pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check - Fixed

Thanks, You know I build web sites for a living, good one's too. Rookie mistakes like this are embarrassing.

This post was modified by Scott Saunders on 2009-08-26 20:00:48

This post was modified by Scott Saunders on 2009-08-26 20:02:46

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Aug 27, 2009 3:06am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

Only the original Dick Tracy serial and the 4 RKO B-features are PD. The remaining 3 Republic serials are still covered by some form of copyright - but they are no longer owned by Republic. Generally the material on VCI DVDs is either owned by Kit Parker Films or by the company that owns VCI "Blaire & Assocs."

Captain America was not renewed but the lack of a reputable DVD/Video distribtor release suggests that there may be some issues with underlying rights.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-08-27 10:06:00

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Poster: anh Mike Date: Sep 3, 2009 10:16am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

So what makes you say that Republic no longer owns the rights??
It is not blair and associates, because that's VCI. VCI is the studio. VCI only claims the rights to "the restored DT serials" . if they are Copyrighted, then VCI cannot claim copyrights. Kit parker would not own them because they are a distributor (Library) of films according to their website unless somehow aquired the rights from Republic or Chester Gould. If your correct about republic, then I'm putting money on Chester Gould.

I did see a renewal number on superfilms list in the front but the back of the book had DT G-men as PD (no renewal #). I know AC comics is putting them out on DVD as well.

Worst case: a cease a desist letter and well know who owns the rights.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Sep 4, 2009 6:32am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

There is no reason that VCI or Kit Parker Films can not purchase the copyright outright to a film in their catalogue.

Kit Parker tends to take on PD films with underlying literary rights and then purchase the literary rights from the owner. He exerts copyright over them through the underlying rights. He also buys films outright and VCI are his exclusive DVD licensee.

My understanding of VCI is that they also buy, or license long term, the rights to some of the movies they release and always purchase/license any underlying materials in PD works they release.

There are three main ways that the copyrights in old films end up owned by other entities:
- Under MPPDA rules at the time there was a system of exclusive rights over titles and stories. If one studio bought a book, title or character they had to buy the previous films made by other studios to secure the right to make a picture. That's why MGM owned the Paramount version of "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" (and also the Barrymore version before it went PD). This even applied to public domain books. Under this rule RKO had to buy the Republic serials in order to make their series of Dick Tracy features.

- I know that many minor studios sold their copyrights to even smaller studios in the 50s. Robert Lippert (Lippert Pictures) and Screen Classics purchased the copyrights outright to many films. The Lippert copyright catalogue and film library is now owned and controlled by Kit Parker Films.

-Many comic book/strip adaptations rights reverted to publishers. The USCO has a record of a transfer of all rights in the RKO Dick Tracy films to the literary agent Sheldon Abend. I believe the literary rights to Dick Tracy are currently owned by the Classic Media/Entertainment Rights Group of companies.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-09-04 13:32:20

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Poster: archivemovie123 Date: Jan 27, 2010 6:04pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

I know they release copyrighted ones, but then from what you are saying, can VCIEntertainet legally claim copyrights of their DVD releases of PD serials?

I don't see any restoration claims at the USCO. AlphaVid appears to take copies of PD serials from VCIs old Videotapes, how does that work out?

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Poster: Valley of the Sun Date: Nov 14, 2014 12:14pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

This is in response to this and some previous postings.

Kit Parker Films has never taken on PD films with literary rights and then purchased the literary rights. The only time it may appear that way is with "A Walk In the Sun," which is based on the novel by Harry Brown. In that case I purchased the rights to the movie from the successor in interest to the producer, Lewis Milestone, and the chain of title included the novel and musical compositions. Incidentally, the movie has an interesting background and for those interested, I donated all of the paperwork to the Margaret Herrick Library (AMPS). Check them out if you have a free day to spend in L.A.!

Lippert Pictures copyrighted the movies it produced and distributed. It did not purchase or subsequently copyright titles it did not produce.

I'm puzzled why someone posted comments that implied that the "copyrights" to the pictures in my library might be dubious. I have the chain of title, including the copyright assignments, to everything. Over the past 40 years we've only endured a handful of challenges, and prevailed in every case.

BTW, I do own the chain of title, and original negatives, to hundreds of movies which are in the public domain. Because there are no enforceable rights, I choose not to exploit them. The main reason is because I work on projects with studios, where PD is a dirty word. Once you get involved with PD they refer to you as a "bottom feeder" (their words.) Can't take that chance.

I welcome all questions about my library, so do not hesitate to ask.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Sep 5, 2009 5:35am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

Just a further note on Dick Tracy. It seems that the film, television and "other" rights to Dick Tracy are the subject of a legal battle between Warren Beatty and Tribune Media Services. The Dick Tracy trademark is registered to Tribune Media Services.
I have yet to find verification for which company or person currently owns the rights to the last 3 Republic serials. However, I have just read that they were made without proper authorisation and that transfer of ownership was the result of a settlement long ago. I don't know if that is completely true or not.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-09-05 12:35:34

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Poster: anh Mike Date: Sep 5, 2009 9:32am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

The plot and controversy thickens around DT and hZ boyZ. I say the VHS and Laser discs say republic has the copyright. the Kit parker has nothing on tracy; I used their search engine but got nothing. As mentioned previously, AC comics has put them out NOT the VCI DVDs. therefore it is not VCI who hold the rights. For that would cut into their pocket books if they had exclusive or exhaustive rights.

Thanks for the input. Video-cellar

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Sep 5, 2009 6:00pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

The Copyrights in the all three serials (and the condensed versions) seem to be valid. So the items are not public domain. Looking back at some of the notices that I have seen appear on items from around the world. It does look like they were listed under their original copyright registration data. Some old VHS tapes also mention that DT is a property of Tribune Media Services and is used under their permission. I think the safest assumption is that the serials' copyrights are either owned or controlled by the publisher outright or as agent for Chester Gould's Estate.

Looks like AC Comics sells DVDs from a collection of pretty standard bootleg operations. Looked at their DVD page most of the releases are copyright films and serials. There are even some multiple levels of copyright infringement. They have the colourised Crimson Ghost. Republic renewed the serial and registered the coloured version as a derivative work in the 90s. It doesn't seem too likely that the DT DVDs at AC Comics are legit releases.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-09-06 01:00:00

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Poster: fedupwithgarbage Date: Sep 4, 2009 4:59pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

Just thought I'd pass this along. Curiosity got the best of me so I sent an attorney friend of mine that specializes in Copyright Law an email along with several postings from here about copyrighted material and this is just a portion of what he wrote back.

"RE: Armchair Lawyers:
The best advice I can give you is to just be aware of the fact that, unfortunately, there are those individuals that would like nothing more than to perpetuate the misinformation that a particular work is protected under copyright law and cannot be distributed legally if for no other reason than to make said work retain, or even elevate, it's market value. Especially if the work in question happened to be in their possession. This may or may not be the case here but I did notice some confusing misconceptions and errors in their analysis."

Just something to think about.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Sep 9, 2009 12:10am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Movie Serial PD Check

So is your attorney friend saying that copyright is a form of non-transferable property? If copyright is non-transferable, maybe we should all start uploading those pre-1984 MGM titles that were sold to Ted Turner. The copyrights would not be valid after a films were sold to him. What about the Monogram Pictures that were at AAP and then Lorimar before ending up at Warners??

US copyright had facility for successors in interest to renew and control copyright even if they are not releated to the original owner of the work.

The first point I made in the above post is not a point of copyright law. It was the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (now MPAA) protocol on remakes and literary rights. There was a system of exclusive rights to copyright and PD literary works for member studios. The best example:
Universal purchases rights on a the novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". They now have rights to make a film of that story. They make their film. It is a success. A few years later Carl Leamle Jr, now at MGM, decides that he wants to remake "Hunchback" with Peter Lorre. In order to do it he has to purchase the literary rights off Universal and, under the protocol, purchase the negative and rights to the Universal film. But his new movie never gets made. Then in 1930s Pandro S Berman at RKO wants to make "Hunchback" which is now a public domain novel. Under MPPDA protocol that doesn't matter. He has to purchase MGM's interest in the novel (for a PD work this was called "priority" on a title and story) and the negative and rights to the Universal film for $125,000. And we all have RKO to thank for the Universal film not being renewed.

Most studio pictures that are in the public domain fell out of copyright because they were remade by another studio who did not add the original to their renewal triggers data:
A Star is Born (RKO ["What Price Hollywood?"] - Selznick - Warners x 2) WB own What Price and their 2 versions but allowed the Selznick version to lapse.
A Farewell To Arms made by Paramount. Rights sold to Warners as Bogart and Garbo vehicle that didn't happen. WB did a failed remake ("A Force of Arms") then recut and reissued the original. Later sold the rights to Selznick who made it at Fox. Fox didn't renew the original.
This is the same for "Algiers", "Penny Serenade", "Swing High Swing Low" and many, many others.

This protocol was in force for a long time. Disney had to buy the rights to the 1924 Paramount film of Peter Pan to make their cartoon in 1953 and both prior versions of Swiss Family Robinson for their 1960 production. Of course, they were more dilligent with copyright renwals - renewing them all and then burrying the films.

For more info on this interesting chapter of film production history see: David Pierce, 2007. "Forgotten faces: why some of our cinema heritage is part of the public domain" Film History, Volume 19, pp. 130–137.

Transfer of interest in copyrights is the most common way that an old studio pictures are mistakenly identified as PD. Like the 1924 Peter Pan film mentioned above. Kino have just licensed it for DVD. Who would think they licensed it from Paramount let alone Disney. The natural assumption is that it is an old silent studio picture on an indy DVD label, therefore, it must be PD.

The limited term licensing of underlying works and fixed-term copyright assignment for copyrights in derivative works is very common. All remaining rights in the Universal series of Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials and recut features reverted to King Features Hearst at renewal. Rights to "Babes in Toyland" reverted to the music publishers after 10 Years. Rights to "Algiers" reverted to the makers of "Pepe Le Moko" after 9 years.

Underlying copyrights in otherwise PD derivative works are a valid way to control those works. There is legislation and case law to support that stand. I don't think anyone would venture to say that the Dick Tracy stories, strips and books are not covered by some form of enforcable copyright. Whether those rights are enforced on all of the films is the question.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-09-05 08:34:33

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-09-09 07:10:42